“Emblematic Objects,” a solo exhibition of paintings by Anita Dawson, opens on Jan. 28 in McCarthy Gallery in Holekamp Hall at Washington and Lee University. It will remain on view until May 30.
Anita Dawson is an artist with obsessions: “I love still life and I love objects. My studio shelves are crowded with taxidermied birds and fishes, early 20th-century toys, plastic frogs, Chinese bowls, interesting rocks which I found while traveling yearly on research trips to Italy, at estate sales or in the street.”
Momentary pleasures and eternal truths are represented in Dawson’s paintings; strangeness and delight are the motivating force in her selection of subject matter and the reflection of life as she sees it. In her body of work, Dawson hopes the viewer will see the physicality of paint, the drama of chiaroscuro, intense color and spatial relationships, all placed in a formal, even emblematic arrangement. These elements interweave various levels of illusion and reality to create a charged emotional atmosphere.
“There is both comedy and serious intent in the odd juxtapositions that reflect our contemporary environment, one that is both transcendent and mundane,” Dawson said. “At the heart of my work is a belief that life-affirming universal truths can be found in these juxtapositions.”
Dawson teaches drawing and painting at the Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus Ohio.
The hours of McCarthy Gallery in Holekamp Hall are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.